The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football team from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The club competes in the National Football Conference East division as a member of the National Football League. The franchise was founded in 1933 to replace the Frankford Yellow Jackets.
The Frankford Yellow Jackets was a Philadelphia-based franchise that participated in the National Football League from 1924 to 1931. Despite being one of the best football teams in the country, the club went bankrupt and was reorganized into the other franchise with new owners and players. The NFL granted a new franchise to Bert Bell and Lud Wray for a $ 2,500 entry fee. It should be noted that these clubs have nothing in common and can’t be regarded as the same. In essence, the shareholders just bought the territorial rights to affiliate the team in Philadelphia. Therefore, the Eagles’ history dates back to 1933.
In 1940, the club changed its owners. Art Rooney purchased half of Lud Wray’s interest in the Eagles. Rooney and Bell exchanged their franchise to Alexis Thompson, who became a majority shareholder for a long time. Bert Bell and Art Rooney relocated the players to Pittsburgh. The Philadelphia Football Club, Inc. used the name “Pittsburgh Steelers” (Thompson’s ex-team) until 1945.
Upon receiving total ownership, Alexis Thompson hired Greasy Neale as the head coach. But the world crisis caused by World War II prevented the team’s successful development. So, the Philadelphia Eagles were forced to merge with the Pittsburgh Steelers, forming the “Steagles.” After a period of depression, Alexis Thompson was the franchise’s major owner until 1963, when it was sold to Jerry Wolman for $5,505,000 (1963-1969). The club was then purchased by Leonard Tose (1969-1985), Norman Braman, and Ed Leibowitz (1985-1994).
In 1993, the motion picture producer Jeffrey Lurie contacted Norman Braman to purchase the Philadelphia Eagles. His uncle, Richard Smith, agreed to help him buy the franchise. In May 1994, Jeffrey Lurie bought the franchise for $195 million.
When Bert Bell and Lud Wray founded the club, the country tried to get out of the Great Depression. At that time, the US President introduced the anti-crisis program as part of the National Recovery Administration, symbolized by the eagle. That is why this bird was used to name the franchise and served as a key element of the new Philadelphia Eagles logo to represent the team’s spirit and ingenuity.
Meaning and History
One of the most famous professional American football teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, went through several logos. Yet, all logos featured the eagle as a key element: the bird either held the ball in its claws, or carried a helmet in the sky, or it flapped its wings on a football helmet. The eagle symbolizes the fighting spirit, determination, and ingenuity. The official color scheme contains green, white, black, and gray colors. They can be found on the team’s logos in various combinations.
1933 – 1935
The inaugural Philadelphia Eagles logo was unveiled in 1933. It depicted an eagle in flight with a ball in its claws. The bird’s wings were raised. The head was turned to the left like it was keeping an eye on the horizon. The central element was drawn in blue-gray in a sketchy style and placed on a white background.
1936 – 1942
In 1936, the management group revised the color scheme of the Philadelphia Eagles logo and the design of certain details. The eagle was made pale green; the wingspan was changed as well. The size of the ball was increased, so it seemed that the bird did not fly, clutching the football, but stood on it.
World War II gave birth to the Phil-Pitt Eagles or “Steagles” – a merger between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Though the logo of that period underwent noticeable modifications, the overall visual theme was retained. Designers proposed an image of a diving eagle with a helmet in its claws. Black color represented an oppressive situation in the world.
1944 – 1947
Since 1944, the Philadelphia Eagles logo featured a constant green color. The 1944 logo depicted a light green eagle flying from the sky and holding a football. The bird’s eye and lines on its wings were white, while the rest elements were emerald.
1948 – 1968
In the 1948 logo, the designers started to use a flying eagle concept, which prevailed until 1995. The emblem included the eagle in flight with wide-spread wings and a white ball in a paw. It resembled the Apollo 11 emblem, depicted on a spacecraft of the United States’ first lunar landing mission. The team’s jerseys featured this logo until 1969.
1969 – 1972
The new logo was introduced in 1969. The brand identity was associated with a flying aircraft: geometrically accurate wings were widely spread. The design of the given emblem was strict, verified, with straight lines and chopped off ends of feathers. Eagle’s head, paws, a left-wing, and an oval ball were white; the other elements were green.
1973 – 1986
The next Eagles logo was presented after the 1972 season. Now it looked like an American football player’s sports helmet. It featured the eagle’s wings that symbolized upturn and desire to reach the top of the world. The facemask, chinstraps, and trim ring were white, the wing was gray, and the helmet itself was green.
1987 – 1995
It was decided to return to the 1948-1968 Eagles logo, yet to modify it a bit to make look more modern and vibrant. The 1987 emblem had a different direction: the eagle started flying right to the left. Besides, there were more white accents in the bird’s body. The beak and paws were painted in straw yellow color. The ball was made dark brown. The image of the eagle was outlined in black.
1996 – present
The current Philadelphia Eagles logo features a white eagle’s head designed in a less realistic style, yet the bird preserves its aggressive and determined character. The eagle’s feathers hide the letter “E,” which stands for the team’s name. The bird’s eyes are aggressive, the pose is attacking, and the beak is open in a piercing scream. In general, it reminds football players before a decisive attack. But the animated style of the image smoothes the feeling of cold and violence, focusing on determination and the desire to win. The old color scheme was changed, as well. The present-day logo uses dark green, black, white, and light gray.